128th-Final, Round 12: Bart Gets an “F” vs. Homer the Vigilante

128th-final, round 12: 7F03 vs. 1F09.

7F03: “Bart Gets an F” (Season 2 / October 11, 1990)
Written by David M. Stern. Directed by David Silverman
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

7F03 Bart Gets an F

vs.

1F09: “Homer the Vigilante” (Season 5 / January 6, 1994)
Written by John Swartzwelder. Directed by Jim Reardon
Showrunner: David Mirkin

1F09 Homer the Vigilante

Another close one. As many second season episodes do, “Bart Gets an F” starts out as a rather conventional family sitcom plot, but of course even back then The Simpsons couldn’t help but elevate the material. I am again and again impressed by the sophisticated and artful animation of the early seasons, and this one is just full of beautiful shots.

“Homer the Vigilante” is obviously a much more polished product, and I like the episode a lot, but “Bart Gets an F” has a certain charm that, at least for me, puts it ahead in this contest.

The winner: 7F03, “Bart Gets an F.”

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Round 24: Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish vs. Homer the Vigilante

Round 24: 7F01 vs. 1F09.

7F01: “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish
(Season 2 / November 1, 1990)
Written by Sam Simon & John Swartzwelder
Directed by Wes Archer
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Mr. Burns' political campaign, channeling Citizen Kane.

It is, in fact, not true than you can recreate the movie Citizen Kane entirely from clips of The Simpsons, but you can get pretty close, and this episode will certainly get you part of the way there.

Not much to say about this one. The voices and character models make it look a bit dated, which can be expected from a 23 year old cartoon. That episodes from just a year later don’t look dated at all – now that’s amazing.


1F09: “Homer the Vigilante” (Season 5 / January 6, 1994)
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Jim Reardon
Showrunner: David Mirkin

Homer Simpson riding an atomic bomb like in Dr. Strangelove.

I love all the references and absurd jokes, but they kinda get in the way of the story, which is very thin. As with anything from the Mirkin years it’s a high quality production, the animation and the score are beautiful. But it’s just not an episode I hold particularly dear.

The winner: 1F09: “Homer the Vigilante.”